Hairvolution: Her hair, her story, our history

Our assistant editor Saskia Calliste, and co-author Zainab Raghdo are releasing new book 'Hairvolution'. A book of interviews with 31 influential Black women about the history and politics of Black women's hair and the journey to self-love and acceptance in Western society.

Hairvolution: Her hair, her story, our history

About this event

Starts: Wednesday 15 September 2021 7:30 PM

Ends: Wednesday 15 September 2021 8:30 PM

Organised by: Aurora Metro

HAIRVOLUTION by Saskia Calliste and Zainab Raghdo is to be published by Supernova Books on Wednesday 15 September 2021 and celebrated with aLive Online Eventin the evening at 7.30pm

Hairovlution starts a celebration of Black women’s hair. Hair is the one way that we all express ourselves and HAIRVOLUTION is a vibrant look at the history and culture surrounding Black hair, challenging outdated notions of beauty, through to reclaiming its power and Black beauty and identity. 

With inspiring, funny and fascinating interviews with women of colour about their personal hair journeys, HAIRVOLUTION reveals the struggles and pressures that Black girls and women endure. From a corporate lawyer, MPs, footballer to climate activist, feminist philosopher, pioneering hairdresser Anastasia Chikeziewriters, comedians, singers and actors including Jamelia and Emmerdale’s Carryl Thomas, their shared experiences will amuse and inform. 

HAIRVOLUTION is a timely and topical read, following the government’s mandatory decision for all trainee hairdressers in the UK to learn how to style and treat Black hair. Kinky, wavy, straight or curly HAIRVOLUTION celebrates natural beauty, however you choose to style your hair. 

Author Saskia Calliste says: 

“There’s a level of unity in Hairvolution that is so empowering. Our contributors range in age, but in some ways, we all have a shared pain. There’s a good 30 to 40 year age gap between some of us, and it’s shocking and awful that we share similar negative experiences, but it’s also beautiful that together we are part of something that means no generation below us will have to lack inspiration or go through these challenges alone.”

HAIRVOLUTION has a foreword by Stella Dadzie, original illustrations by Aleea Rae and hair themed poetry by Kadija Sesay.  

This is the HAIRVOLUTION, and it has only just begun.

“First and foremost this book is a celebration of our history, politics and culture as Black women. I personally took pleasure in digesting the history chapter first. The book affirms the beauty of Black women and, in particular, our natural kinky hair. It then flowed seamlessly into the collection of hair journeys told by thirty Black women aged 18 to 80. The Aleea Rae artwork on the front cover and sprinkled throughout the book is absolutely stunning. HAIRVOLUTION is not just a book, it’s a movement.” 

Carol Ann Whitehead FRSA GGAMD, The Zebra Partnership, Pankhurst Museum and Queen Bee Coaching Ambassador, Founding Member of BURN (Black United Representation Network), SDG Champion Top 100 Social Media Influencers. 


A discussion about the politics and history of Black hairWEDNESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2021 

7.30pm (1930hrs) tickets: 

Panel includes: Anastasia Chikezie, Stella Dadzie, Annika Allen, Carryl Thomas, Anita Okunde and Anita Asante. 

Hairvolution features interviews from: 

• Annika Allen – co-founder Black Magic Awards and podcaster, UK 

• Eva Anek – design and fashion, UK 

• Anita Asante – fashion and design, USA 

• Caroline Blackburn – former athlete and sports’ injury therapist teacher, UK 

• Doreene Blackstock - actor, UK 

• Dawn Butler – Member of Parliament, UK 

• Anastasia Chikezie - award-winning Afro hair entrepreneur and pioneer, UK

• Stella Dadzie – writer and activist, UK 

• Sokari Douglas Camp – artist, Nigeria / UK 

• Stephanie Douglas Oly retired Olympian sprinter, UK

• Deitra Farr – blues, soul and gospel singer-songwriter, USA 

• Rachel Fleming Campbell – litigation attorney, USA 

• Ruthie Foster singer-songwriter of blues and folk music, USA

• Kadija George Sesay – writer and curator, UK / Sierra Leone 

• Jamelia – singer-songwriter, broadcaster and author, UK 

• Judith Jacob – actor, radio presenter and fitness instructor, UK 

• Bakita Kasadha – health writer and poet, UK 

• Angie Le Mar – comedian, presenter, producer, UK 

• Francine Mukwaya human rights campaignerDemocratic Republic of Congo / UK• Jessica Okoro – IT program manager and STEM advocate, UK 

• Anita Okunde – climate activist, and member of Youth Parliament, UK 

• Stella Oni – writer, UK / Nigeria 

• Chi Onwurah – Member of Parliament, UK 

• Olusola Oyeleye award-winning writer, director and producer, UK

• Shade Pratt – footballer and designer, USA 

• Rianna Raymond-Williams – sexual health advisor and social entrepreneur, UK • Djamila Ribeiro – feminist philosopher, Brazil  

• Vivienne Rochester – actor, UK 

• Cleo Sylvestre – actor, singer, writer, UK 

• Carryl Thomas – actor, UK 

• Jael Umerah-Makelemi – illustrator, graphic designer, UK 

HAIRVOLUTION by Saskia Calliste and Zainab Raghdo – published by Supernova Books, an imprint of Aurora Metro 

About the authors 

Saskia Calliste is the assistant editor for Voice Mag UK where she writes about societal issues and reviews fringe theatre, including Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. She freelanced for The Booksellerand has had her work published in the 30th-anniversary edition of The Women Writers’ Handbook (Aurora Metro). She is the author of the blog, has an MA in Publishing and a BA in Creative Writing & Journalism.

Zainab Raghdo is a writing assistant and content creator at ContentBud, and the author of the blog She has an MA in Publishing and a BA in English Literature and Classical Civilisation and has freelanced for many years, recently being published in the newarts journal, The Bower Monologues, and the online African Woman magazine

Stella Dadzie is a writer and historian best known for her co-authorship of The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain which won the 1985 Martin Luther King Award for Literature. She is a founder member of OWAAD (Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent), and was recently described as one of the “grandmothers” of Black Feminism in the UK. Her career as a teacher, writer, artist and education activist spans over 40 years. She is well known within the UK for her contribution to tackling youth racism and working with racist perpetrators and is a key contributor to the development of anti-racist strategies with schools, colleges and youth services. She has run workshops, spoken at many international conferences and was a guest Lecturer at Havard University in 2018. She appeared in And Still I Rise, a documentary exploring the social and historical origins of stereotypes of African women, and was a guest of Germaine Greer on her BBC2 discussion programme, The Last Word.

Supernova Books, an imprint of Aurora Metro  

Aurora Metro began 30 years ago, when Cheryl Robson and a group of women writers created Aurora Metro to develop and publish new writing. Now regarded as one of the leading independent publishers in the UK with a fine list of some 300 international authors including Germaine Greer, Benjamin Zephaniah, Meera Syal, Suchen Christine Lim, Jean-Claude Carriere, Nawal el Saadawi and Mihail Sebastian, the company offers an inspiring range of writers from 30 different countries.

Header Image Credit: Aurora Metro


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